The late Bruce Chatwin, author of what has become the itinerant travelers classic In Patagonia, once noted that it has been a relatively recent development for humans to seize being nomads. Sometimes we traveled hundreds of miles, sometimes a few dozen between our winter and summer camping grounds. In THE beginning as it were, we traveled and inevitably mixed. Then we started staking out territory and building cites and castles. If we are innately creatures of war, maybe the territorial annexing and invasions were inevitable. Or maybe they where the result of a series of sociopaths who mislead large enough swaths of mankind to screw things up for the next couple dozen centuries. I tend to think it was the invasions and the growth of greed that lead much of humanity into being nativists of one kind or another. Those people over there, the for’ners, became the dirt. It does not really serve us well to think of it that way or cultivate cultures that demonizes the outsiders. The virtues of impurity in early modern England
If dirt is matter out of place, then according to Wolfram Schmidgen, impurity is matter just where it needs to be. His adventurous new book celebrates “mixture’s elusive otherness, in its out-of-placeness”. The famous phrase that Mary Douglas claims to have taken from Lord Chesterfield (though nobody seems to have traced it in the Earl’s letters) enshrined dirt as a “residual category”, but for Schmidgen mixture is at the heart of everything, a constitutive part of meaning in all cultural activity. Far from polluting, impurity creates a healthier state of being. Centrally here, its traces can be found “in the joint scientific and political struggles of the seventeenth century to displace ideas of order that privileged strong boundaries, clear forms and sovereign essences”.
Portrait of a Lady. c1460. Oil on panel. Rogier van der Weyden (1399/1400 – 1464).
For decades, ALEC has been a conduit for the oil, tobacco, and pharmaceutical industries to push legislation that changes the rules to limit accountability when a corporation’s products or actions cause injury or death — such as when a Koch Industries pipeline explodes and kills teenagers , or when the tobacco or pharmaceutical industries withhold evidence that their products are dangerous. In just the first six months of 2013, seventy-one ALEC bills that advance these “tort reform” goals have been introduced in thirty states…
Conservatives and libertarians like to speak in code. One of their code words or phrases is free enterprise. Translation: the freedom to behave without much moral responsibility. They also like to use the word regulation. Translation: Any legislation that keeps them from making more money, like limiting the amount of poison they can put into our lands and water supply, is communism or at least anti-capitalism. They generally do not entertain the complex consequences of the unregulated pursuit of money beyond any moral constraints or respect for democratic republican principles. Anyone who tries to introduce humanitarian considerations into the equation is the enemy. Billionaire Charles Koch on helping the poor: Eliminate minimum wages.